BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Back the Blue Rally took place in Bristol, Tennessee on Sunday.
These Back the Blue Rallies have been popping up all over the Tri-Cities.
Saturday’s event was organized with the help of Commissioner Mark Vance.
Several other city leaders were in attendance along with Congressional Candidate Diana Harshbarger and Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy.
Cassidy said that with everything going on these past few years in Sullivan County, including the death of Sergeant Steve Hinkle, the Evelyn Boswell Case, and COVID-19, he’s glad to have the support within the community.
“With all the criticism going on with law enforcement, everybody knows, for the most part, most of these officers just want to do their job,” said Cassidy. “Trying to protect all of their communities from evil and also good cops don’t like bad cops either.”
This rally comes after another Back the Blue rally in Bristol was canceled in fear of counter-protesters.
“A few bad eggs have given a bad reputation to people who don’t deserve it, and I’m out here to say that I support the police, I’m praying for them and that they have my support all the way through,” said Wanda Bartee, a Bristol, Tennessee resident who attended Sunday’s rally.
At the corner of Volunteer Parkway and State Street, people waved their flags and stood in honor of law enforcement.
“I think that this basically is a city that appreciates law enforcement,” said Bartee. “We want to be safe, we want to be honorable, and most of the people who have come by here have been enthusiastically respectful.”
Sheriff Jeff Cassidy thanked those who attended the rally for their support.
“Oh gosh, just the support we’ve been seeing across this county, Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia,” said Cassidy, “If I was ever going to be a deputy sheriff, police officer, or chief sheriff this is definitely the area I’d want to be in.”
He said their department has been getting plenty of support from the community after a few years filled with challenges.
“They’ve brought us food, they’ve sent us letters, they’ve prayed for us, have had prayer rallies, and it’s just been heartwarming and it really lifts us up,” said Cassidy.
Participants in Sunday’s Back the Blue Rally say they are supporting law enforcement in Sullivan County but hopes their message reaches to law enforcement across the country.
“We want to support our constitution, our values, and see all sections of the government operate the way it’s intended to in the first place,” said Bartee.